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Drive From Alabama to California

Why I moved and my very first experience across country

By Stina JourneyPublished 3 years ago 6 min read
Grand Canyon 2021

How can a simple, yet complex, woman go from living in a bubble in Alabama to driving past her boundaries into another state she is unsure of?

The only thing I can think of is because of a boy she found on Instagram.

This story isn't about love at first...IG message, but instead about my journey going from the only thing I know to everything I don't know. Reliving life, taking huge risks and chances, discovering new things, opening eyes and minds to possibilities, and living life outside the boundaries of the Alabama bubble.

I'm from a place full of weather, green trees, green grass, accents people think aren't real in movies until they actually hear them in real life, family, friends, safety, comfort, and a place of known. I only know about hurricane season and tornadoes that happen on a whim.

Because of those tornadoes and really bad weather this year, I had to move. My boyfriend moved to Alabama to be with me. We tried so many times to get an apartment in the city I once called home. But, for different reasons, weather being one of them, we could not make a life there. So many events leading up to my decision on moving to his hometown.

It’s funny. I’ve always told myself I would never in my life move to California. Stories about how people struggle over there and how everyone is all about plastic, fakenes, and money. How to get famous and how to become richer than the person next to you. Another funny, the only person I want to be with for the rest of my life is from California. Not one person in Alabama could be with me. So, California bound, I moved.

Driving in our separate cars, we stepped on the gas pedal with our cars full of memories I collected in Alabama. There was no job whatsoever waiting for us in California, so the best way to get there was through adventure. We traveled to so many different places from one end of the country to the other. Not only did the earth look different, but also the weather and the people. Everything as soon as we hit a certain point in Texas, everything changed. Nothing looked or felt the same.

This blog is the first of many detailing my adventures here in the great west part of North America. My point of views, as well as, displaying research (what I can find) to back up what I’m talking about and how I feel and view about it.

The first thing I’d like to mention, as do everyone else I encounter here in California, is, “How do you like it here?” I get that every single time I meet someone new. My first reaction is always talking about the weather. "It’s hot!!!" Extremely hot compared to Alabama heat. I only known of temperatures that get up to maybe 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because I moved earlier in the year, I was able to learn the temperature change gradually instead of head on. First time I really felt the heat was when I was walking to the public pool one day during the middle of the day, around 4:00pm. The hottest time of day. My legs felt like the sun was resting on them. I had this feeling of “I cannot escape this heat. I might just die.” I was so hot, I was already sweaty and it had not even been 2 minutes in the heat. It might have been 112 degrees outside. That’s 10 more degrees than the hottest I once knew. 118 degrees F is the hottest I’ve experienced here in the dry desert in California.

Speaking of “dry”. It’s drier than a crouton in a salad with no dressing. I’m so used to humidity and breathing the water in the air. My nose could not take the first few weeks of being here. Bloody noses right and left. It looked like I was in an anime and someone did a sexy jutsu on me. My boyfriend’s mother advised me to use almond oil and rub the inside of the nose with it. I tried that and felt an instant relief. Who knew the smell of almonds would make me feel more at home! No, the oil was there to hydrate the inside of the nose.

Back to the weather. I’m questioning why, if there are, any weather forecast people who work here in this part of California. It’s always sunny (sometimes cloudy) and it’s always hot. The weather is so intense yet so unchanging, you can plan anything and not expect to change plans due to rain. You can wear the same type of clothes each day. Weather does not change at all here. It’s not like Alabama where the weather there has some sort of bipolar disorder (not talking bad about those who do. My dad has bipolar). Alabama weather changes basically every few hours. Having James Spann is a necessity. He's essential.

Because of this unchanging weather, my jackets, my thick pants, and even my raincoat haven't been touched since I moved here. The only reason why anyone would want to buy an umbrella is to hide away from the sun. I need one after getting this deep tan I got from 5 minutes of sun exposer. Never in my life have I used so much sunscreen.

I did some research on what would happen to this particular location if it did rain. Surprisingly, it has rained before. The rainiest rainy day (in Alabama, it would be a drizzle) caused the town to flood. I saw the video of how light the rain was. I was shocked to see it be covered in so much water. Rain is good, but more than a sprinkle is bad. One day since I’ve been here, it did sprinkle. I was so excited and couldn't wait for it to pourd down rain! It sprinkled for maybe 5 minutes and it was done. I’ve been here since April and it only sprinkled for 5 minutes.

There are times, days, when I would think about the weather I grew up with. Rain made me feel calm. Thunderstorms made me want to curl up in covers and read a good book. I grew up looking at lightning and thinking it was cool but knew not to touch windows or door knobs. I felt comfortable with the intense weather. I would rather go through a hurricane than a tornado. Talking with my boyfriend and seeing his expression towards the weather he discovered when he moved to Alabama, I thought he was kidding around.

His expression was, “Am I going to die?” That was the same expression I had when I stepped out of the car to walk to the pool. “Am I going to die?” What seemed peaceful and calm to me was giving him anxiety. He didn’t even like the tornado sirens that went off one day. He instantly thought of Silent Hill. To be honest, I freaked out when I heard it too. But, normal weather to me is not normal weather to someone who lives here in California.

What I got out of this, the new life here, is we are accustomed to what we are growing up to. What’s normal to me, can be scary to someone else. What could be calm and relaxing to me can cause serious stress and anxiety to someone else. Both of our lives, growing up, are different. I’m in the front view experiencing this.

I basically took my life’s worth of experiences and quickly realized it’s not like most people’s. Something as simple as talking about the weather had me questioning why it is so drastically different here and on the other end of the same country?

For anyone reading this, think about how you grew up. Think about your own life experiences. Think about how it’s unique from anyone else’s. Next time you talk to someone different, have an open mind. Be considerate. Understanding their life might have been different. Their view of something, even the weather, could be different from your view of the same weather. No one is wrong in this conversation.

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